Dare to Tell – Day 3 – John’s Story
It was about a month since my final paycheck had been sent to the bank.
It started with a letter to let me know that my overdraft facility, which previously had been quite generous, was cancelled.
Then came the phone call, they asked me if I was aware that my account was overdrawn.
I was busy that week. I had been taking care of the kids as my wife was working overtime. The baby had been sick and with running around to doctors and the interrupted nights of sleep, the bank was the last thing on my mind.
The last letter had a distinctly threatening tone. I needed to get to the bank that day.
I approached the teller who barely raised her head as I sat down and showed her the letter. Once she had scanned it, she looked up and then looked me up and down. I suppose I didn’t look too much like a bum.
“What’s the story,” she asked, “what’s with your salary?” I told her I’m not working right now. I could almost see her distain. “So what are you going to do,” she asked as if I hadn’t been asking myself that daily over the last 3 months, and the excruciating 6 months prior to my redundancy when I pretty much knew that it was coming.
Redundancy, it’s a strange word. At my age, with 4 kids, it’s a hard word to take on as my identity, and yet it seemed to creep up on me.
The teller shifted impatiently in her seat, took a drink of her coffee and said, “Well what can you expect, I mean, no salary, no security, no future”?
“I have been a client of this bank for 25 years and have never been overdrawn before. I have held down many jobs and barely had a day of unemployment,” I began.
But I realized that my words were falling on deaf ears, she was leafing through her papers and stifling a yawn.
Until that moment, I thought I was immune to shame.
But as I tell you this story, I realize that the shame is not mine.